Second Canadian admits trying to smuggle cocaine

A second Canadian man charged in a drug conspiracy ring seeking to smuggle about $300,000 worth of cocaine from Texas to Canada through Maine pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Matthieu LeBlanc, 30, of Shediac, New Brunswick, pleaded guilty before Judge John Woodcock Jr. to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 10 kilograms or more of cocaine.

A conspirator, Chad Hallet, 30, of Dieppe, New Brunswick, had pleaded guilty to the same charge Aug. 9.

Federal agents had Hallet under surveillance as he entered the U.S. on June 27 at the Maine Port of Entry in Houlton. State police stopped him for speeding shortly afterward on Interstate 95 and found a box containing nearly $300,000 in cash in the trunk of the vehicle Hallet was driving, according to court documents.

Hallet was arrested after being stopped and then worked on an undercover basis for federal agents, leading them to LeBlanc in Atlantic City, N.J., where LeBlanc was subsequently arrested, court documents state.

Sentencing dates for LeBlanc and Hallett have not been set.


Canadian woman receives 28 months for 786 meth pills

A Canadian woman charged along with a Maine man with trying to smuggle hundreds of methamphetamine pills from Canada into Maine was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to serve 28 months in prison.

Patricia Smith, 25, of Perth Andover, New Brunswick, had pleaded guilty to a charge of importation of 50 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine on June 20.

Judge John Woodcock Jr. also ordered Smith to serve two years of supervised release after her prison term.

Smith was the passenger in a car driven by Caleb Jewett, 21, of Mars Hill when they were stopped Feb. 9 as they crossed from Canada into the U.S. at the Maine Point of Entry in Bridgewater. A dog used to search the car keyed in on the driver’s side of the vehicle where federal agents found packages in the door panel containing 786 pills, according to court documents.

Jewett pleaded guilty to the same charge as Smith on May 29 and is due for sentencing on Jan. 4.



Old Navy Outlet planning to open by the end of May

An Old Navy Outlet aims to open in the Freeport Village Station by Memorial Day weekend, joining outlet stores ranging from Famous Footwear to Brooks Brothers.

“We are very proud to bring Old Navy — one of the world’s most popular brands — to Freeport,” said Alfred Yebba, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Berenson Associates Inc., the Boston-based developer and owner of Freeport Village Station.

“Our customers are value-oriented, aspirational families looking for quality fashion at exceptional prices. We know that Old Navy Outlet will deliver on that equation,” Yebba said.

Old Navy Outlet has a store in Kittery. Old Navy and Old Navy Outlet are owned by Gap Inc.


Elections commission starts work on report due by Feb. 1

With its schedule of hearings complete, a panel that’s looking to correct problems in Maine’s election process is starting work on its report.

The five-member Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections’ findings and any recommended legislation must be presented to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee by Feb. 1.

The panel was appointed in May to study voter registration, voter participation and how elections are conducted. A series of public hearings was held around the state to help the panel better understand how Mainers view the state’s voting process and how they think it can be improved.


LePage sends greetings to guardsmen overseas

Gov. Paul LePage sent holiday greetings to nearly 200 Maine National Guardsmen deployed overseas.

Joined by first lady Ann LePage and Brig. Gen. James Campbell, Maine’s adjutant general, LePage reached out in a video conference call Friday to soldiers and airmen from the 488th Military Police Company in Afghanistan, the 121st Public Affairs Detachment in Kosovo and the Charley 1-126th Aviation Company in Kuwait.

During the call, LePage said that if the troops or their families should need anything, “we are only a phone call away, we mean that.”

Campbell said state officials recognize the sacrifices the soldiers and their families are making.